Humane Society cites violations involving hunting with hounds
In lobbying for a ban on the use of hounds to hunt bears and bobcats, animal rights activists pointed Tuesday to more than 70 incidents in the last five years involving improper activity by hunters using dogs in California.
The Humane Society of the United States released a list of 500 incidents reported by the California Department of Fish and Game involving all hunting violations, but most don't involve hunting with dogs and many were responses to citizen complaints that resulted in no citations.
More than 70 incidents involved houndsmen cited or questioned for issues that include using dogs to hunt out of season, trespassing on private property, hunting in wildlife refuges and poaching animals without the proper state-issued hunting tags.
Jennifer Fearing, California senior state director for the Humane Society, told more than 50 activists at the Capitol for the organization's annual lobbying day that the incident reports by state game wardens argue for SB 1221, a bill that would outlaw the use of dogs to hunt bears and bobcats.
"The reports reveal shocking lawlessness associated with hounding," Fearing said. "California has the lowest number of game wardens per capita of any state, and they have far better things to do then spend their time chasing down these poachers and their ilk."
The head of one hound-hunting group said the incidents do not represent the norm of the hunting community.
"Every community has bad apples," said Josh P. Brones, president of California Houndsmen for Conservation. He called those who break the law "exceptions to the rule" and said they should be punished. Brones noted that his group has supported legislation to increase penalties for poaching.
-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento